Medical Assisting graduate finds a home at SJVC’s Temecula campus
The classrooms, the hallways, the people are all very familiar to Angela Velasquez as she comes to work each day at the Temecula campus. They should be. It was not that long ago that she sat in one of those very chairs absorbing all she could about the Medical Assisting program that would offer her a new career.
What she did not imagine when she was a student, is that she might one day stand in front of one of those very classrooms and give to her students that which was so eagerly given to her. From there to here was a long and arduous journey.
Angela spent important time as a Navy Corpsman. After the initial Corpsman school, she went to Field Med School to prepare her for work in the field with the Marines. “I did everything, such as sutures, IVs, phlebotomy and injections to hundreds of recruits,” she says. Although she never deployed to a war zone, Angela provided medical care for those shipping out and returning from combat.
“We took care of the Marines,” says Angela. “We worked in the surgery unit, ran sick bay and did OB-GYN. We ran triage, treated wounds and did field work, working with doctors.”
Every assignment brought additional medical education, training and experience. It was enough for Angela to know she wanted the medical field to become her life’s work.
Coming to SJVC for a degree in Medical Assisting was a natural evolution in achieving that goal.
Angela was one of the students in the Temecula campus’ first Medical Assisting program. That experience planted important seeds that would shape her future teaching style.
After graduation, Angela went to work for a cardiologist in private practice, and saw patients in that office as well as those in the hospital with which they were affiliated. It was busy and fulfilling work.
Just nine months ago, Angela was recruited to teach the Medical Assisting program at SJVC. It was a position that would allow her to express her strong desire to impact the lives of others in ways that could benefit many more patients than she could ever touch.
She found that she loved sparking those young minds toward greater and more effective care of others. Her Medical Assisting students are in for the full learning experience.
“I’m very animated and use examples from my military and personal life to let them know what to expect,” says Angela. “I want every student to really understand, so I may use examples that do not pertain to the medical field to make a point.”
Students also relate well to Angela because she, too, was a SJVC student who shared some of their same struggles. It wasn’t that long ago that she was sitting where they are sitting – literally.
And since Angela is currently enrolled in a Bachelor degree’s nursing program, she is still a student. “I am an instructor here, but I’m also a student somewhere else.” She can project a student-to-student understanding.
Angela very much identifies with students who are juggling school with parenthood and employment. With two young children, work responsibilities and a commitment to furthering her own education, Angela knows a lot about what it takes to stay the course.
“When I get a new class, I always ask students to write down why they are in school in the first place; what is their passion,” says Angela. “If I feel they start to lose motivation, I pull those out and read their reasons to them and remind them that all of that still matters. They still need to do what matters, what makes them proud of themselves.”
Angela has all the faith in the world that her students can make it. “I watch them come in and they really don’t want to talk or raise their hand; they are so shy,” she says. A couple of mods in, they’re participating, not just in class, but in school and community events. The confidence they’ve gained being at SJVC is really cool to see.”
Angela knows that, if those who are struggling can just hang on, life-changing accomplishment is just within reach.
“I like to tell them about graduation, and how loud family and friends get when they are walking across the stage,” says Angela. “It’s like the coolest thing ever. Taking it all in, you’re so proud of these students. It’s exciting and beautiful to see everyone so happy.”
Angela paints the scene of this event in sweeping colors in hopes of helping her students visualize this important moment of accomplishment. “They deserve their education and owe this to themselves.”
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